got me a college girl

in celebration of formal education in the life of the Christian girl

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Challenging the Roles We Were Born to Fill? (Liz)

Admittedly, I have been watching Mona Lisa Smile.

There is a scene in which Julia Roberts's character is lecturing her class, challenging them to see that women in the fifties could have more options than being a wife and mother. She closes by saying, "I didn't realize that by demanding excellence I was 'challenging the roles you were born to fill.'"

I must start by saying that I honestly believe that mothering and domesticity are very noble, honorable, and difficult careers. Does college challenge that? Does domesticity somehow feel intimidated by college? Will the choice to attend college somehow make one a less apt mother or homemaker? It seems that some believe that if my mind is well-educated, I will not focus on mothering as my primary ministry. If I have devoted part of my life to study and academia, somehow I cannot devote myself fully to being a wife and mother later.

What is it that is intimidating about the demand for excellence? I do not believe that my continued attempt to seek education has harmed my primary focus. I do not believe that by stretching my mind and learning to think in new ways I have somehow deviated from the path that God designed for me. In fact, I believe that by stretching, learning, and educating I am bettering myself for service in His Kingdom. And while I certainly don't believe that a college degree is what makes a good mother, wife, or woman, I do believe that it can be a VERY significant contribution.


  • At 11:35 PM, Blogger Hamburgerin said…

    liz, i'm so glad you brought up this point--i was just thinking along the same lines the other day!

    i suppose the thing that bothers me is the mentality out there that says that sending a girl to college is going to make her all worldly and is going to lure her away from being a dedicated wife and mother--as if every girl who goes to college ends up leaving with aspirations of being a ceo. although i'm sure that happens with some, one cannot generalize.

    i, for one, would love to be a wife and mother. i'd have no problem leaving my efl teaching job to do that. in fact, i wish i could. however, it's pretty clear that that's not God's plan for my life--at least not at the present.

    nevertheless, again and again, i see how the Lord has used what i learned at college to enable me to help others. last week i was working on proofing/editing a master's thesis written (in english) by a german friend of mine. although i wouldn't classify myself as a professional, i know that i acquired and refined these types of editing skills when i was at college. during my own master's program i had to grade enough research papers that some of this stuff was really cemented in my brain! i honestly didn't like that kind of work back then, but last week it was more than once that i had to think, "thank you, Lord for letting me experience and learn that in the past so that i can be of help to someone else today."

  • At 5:42 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…


    I had similar thoughts when I saw that movie. I honestly do not understand why striving to be the best hampers us as wives and mothers. Indeed, it is just the opposite, IMHO!

    Thanks for the good entry!

  • At 5:44 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…


    Good thoughts, again.

    I, too, have those light-bulb moments when something I learned in college has been useful and I realize why I had to learn it in the first place...for future reference.

    I remember the first week I was a freshman, I learned the word "ramification" and hence have used the word many times....perhaps not enough on this blog, though.
    I mean, think of the ramifications of this entire discussion......:)

  • At 9:30 AM, Blogger Jessica said…

    I agree.

  • At 1:48 PM, Blogger joy mccarnan | said…

    didn't realize you were hangin' around these parts.

  • At 9:59 PM, Blogger Hamburgerin said…

    oh, yes, i've been lurking around for a while, joy. :o) just haven't spoken up. (probably because what i wanted to say was always too long!) besides that, i keep getting here through the link on your blog. :o)

    is this blog now limited to certain guests? i mean, i see that it's possible for only bloggers to make comments. it wasn't always that way, was it?

  • At 5:13 AM, Blogger greenemama said…

    i don't think we've ever allowed anonymous comments. obviously people can sign in with a phony blogger account, etc., but i personally don't take snide anonymous comments seriously. and if you''re going to be nice, why post anyonymously? i suppose there are reasons . . . not wanting your hyper-patriarchal friends and family know that you want to go to college, etc. hmmm... should we allow anonymous comments? :)

    it's nice to hear from you. i check your blog periodically. :)

  • At 11:03 AM, Blogger Hamburgerin said…

    oh, i don't like anonymous comments either. my theory is "if you don't have the guts to identify yourself, then you shouldn't be commenting in the first place!"

    actually, i think i may have gotten mixed up about an earlier conversation that was going on between two bloggers, one of whom made some comments on her own blog directing them here.

    i guess i was just thinking that there is the option of allowing people who don't have a blogger account to post a comment with their name. maybe i like that one better because i feel kind of silly with that "hamburgerin" label. :o) i just didn't realize what i was doing when i made up that blog title... oh well, live and learn. it obviously isn't hindering me from making comments! :o)

    i periodically check out your blog too, greenemama! and i sometimes think of you when i go to isemarkt. i was there today!


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